The government's aims for widening participation in higher education will not be met unless a wider range of students is targeted and the proposed access regulator is given stronger powers of intervention, a report warns.
People in employment, older students and those wishing to progress from modern apprenticeships should be made priority targets in the strategy, according to the Learning and Skills Development Agency report.
The proposed Office for Fair Access should be given powers to ensure that all universities, not just those charging differential fees, are making progress towards recruiting more students from non-traditional backgrounds, it argues.
The LSDA says that Offa should be able to demand greater transparency from all universities in their widening participation strategies, including how progress is measured and what benchmarks are used.
It adds: "Offa should have the power to intervene when the Higher Education Funding Council for England finds universities are proposing to make inappropriately slow progress."